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2011 Volkswagen Jetta

Overview
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.6

In many respects, the all-new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is a lesser car than its predecessor. The standard engine is far less powerful, the rear suspension is less sophisticated and the interior is no longer over-the-top refined. But it is roomier and more affordable, and that's just what Volkswagen thinks America wants. Yes, some of the Jetta's more discriminating devotees will be disappointed, but the new model will attract far more buyers than it loses. And even with the cost-cutting, the Jetta is still fun to drive and still has one of the category's finest interiors. Last three words: Outsider moving in.

You'll Like This Car If...

Interior quality, driving dynamics and individuality are still Jetta strong suits. Now that prices are down and roominess is up, Volkswagen's perennial best-seller can even appeal to your practical side.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta's 115-horsepower base engine is the weakest in the category, and the lower prices still don't qualify the Jetta as a value leader (but its historically strong resale values don't hurt). Tech-savvy buyers wouldn't be wrong to expect more from the Jetta.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 VW Jetta is an all-new car with an all-new look, but the key changes can be summed up in two words: bigger and cheaper.

Driving the Jetta

Driving Impressions Not everyone who buys a Jetta does so for things like steering feedback and roadholding ability, but European driving feel – for less than $20,000 – has been one of...

the Jetta's greatest strengths for decades. Thankfully, given the simplified suspension and added length, it still is. The familiar 2.5-liter engine is punchy if short-winded, and the five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are just fine. Highway ride is firm within reason, and highway noise is on the quieter side of the category spectrum. We're eager to drive a Jetta with the smaller, 115-horsepower engine and smaller wheels - not because we think we'll love it, but to find out just how severe the penalty is.

Diesel Power
We haven't yet driven the 2011 Jetta TDI, but we're such big fans of Volkswagen's popular diesel engine that it's already one of our favorite Jetta features.

Cargo Room
The Jetta's newfound rear-seat roominess is welcome and useful, but the deep, massive trunk is a sight to behold.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Details
Interior

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta interior in a nutshell: more room, cheaper materials. Rear legroom, which was tight in the outgoing model, is up 2.7 inches and now best-in-class. But in areas where you'd find premium-like, soft-touch materials in the outgoing Jetta, the sixth-generation model features hard plastic. Moving up the trim ladder does buy a little more flair, and it's still among the nicest interiors in the class, but we wouldn't call it a $30,000 interior like we did the last Jetta's (and the current Golf's). The Jetta's huge trunk is also worth noting, as is the unremarkable sound system. Volkswagen's decision to put the USB port in the glove compartment could madden some whose phone and portable music player are one and the same.

Exterior
2011 Volkswagen Jetta photo

The biggest Jetta ever measures about three inches longer than its predecessor. Some were hoping for more expressive sheetmetal, but we think it's a tasteful design that will stand the test of time. Exterior differentiators throughout the lineup range from small, 15-inch covered steel wheels on the base-model Jetta S, to mirror-integrated turn signals, front fog lamps, chrome accents and 17-inch alloy wheels on the Jetta GLS.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S starts under $17,000, but with a weaker engine than its competitors and a pedestrian list of standard equipment. Highlights include air conditioning, power locks/windows/mirrors (with one-click up/down on all four windows) and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system with auxiliary audio input. A full complement of standard safety features includes electronic stability control and six airbags.

Optional Equipment

A loaded 2011 Volkswagen Jetta GLS features a 2.5-liter 170-horsepower engine, six-speed automatic transmission, leatherette seats, USB audio input, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, heated seats, touchscreen navigation/audio with six speakers and SD memory card slot, Sirius satellite radio, moonroof, rear disc brakes, and keyless entry and start. The SEL trim also offers a Sport package with a lowered sport suspension, sport-bolstered seats, aluminum pedals and unique door sills.

Under the Hood

The 2011 VW Jetta powertrain lineup will quickly grow to include four engines and four transmissions. The bread-and-butter combo is the 170-horsepower five-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport-tuned Jetta GLI will match Volkswagen's renowned 2.0-liter turbo engine with its quick-shifting and efficient six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (or a six-speed manual). The Jetta TDI will offer the same transmissions as the GLI, but mated to VW's also-celebrated turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. At the other end of the spectrum, the base model 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S will be saddled with a 2.0-liter, 115-horsepower four-cylinder engine that, when matched to the auto transmission, has to strain for 11 seconds before pulling the car to 60 mph. A couple years down the road, we'll get a hybrid Jetta.

2.0-liter four-cylinder
115 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
125 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 (manual), 23/32 (auto)

2.5-liter five-cylinder
170 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 (manual), 24/31 (auto)

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (GLI only)
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBD

2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder
140 horsepower @ 4000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750-2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 (manual), 30/42 (auto)

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 295 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Out of 28 new cars I have owned this is best!

By on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "such high quailty materials, no 1 handling"

Cons: "might be a bit pricy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"No better mileage vehicle around, 600 mi before fill up. Sweet handling, tons of torque, high quality inside and out. Note to VW: you got a winner with the car and the TDI, don't mess with it!"

5 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Most impressive car

By on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "A drivers car with the benefit of economy."

Cons: "Would have liked power seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Other than a nagging problem with the DSG transmission early on, the car has consistently impressed. The transmission problem was resolved under warranty and is but a memory. The fuel economy is outstanding and has only gotten better with the engine broken in. Highway mileage has increased from 38-40 mpg when new, to a range of 40-46 mpg. I replaced the stock tires rather early on, to Michelon pilots, and noticed an increase in the sure foot feeling of accurate steering and control. The driver position and seating is a good compromise of side bolsters and enough padding to make long trips comfortable. For the money, this is the best car I've owned, and would recommend it without hesitation."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

we love our Volkswagen

By on Monday, June 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "everything is just good about it smooth ride cool"

Cons: "front B seats a little to small"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"my wife loves her Volkswagen its a daily driver it's comfortable and give her about 38 to 40 miles a gallon believe it or not its real good on gas on the highway real dependable we haven't had any problems with it we just love it"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Horrifying

By on Friday, June 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
1/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Volkswagon has the worst customer service. The MTA is better since you already know what you're coming up against. If you need to service your car, prepare yourself for disappointment and receiving lack of education."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great Vehicle

By on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to Drive"

Cons: "Nothing"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"June 1ST I purchased a 2015 VW Jetta SE 1.8 Turbo w/Connectivity and Navigation. Heated seats/Bluetooth/Moon Roof/Rear Camera Graphite Blue w/Black Interior. This Jetta replaces a 2014 Toyota Corolla "S" Premium. I love the Jetta in fact the 1.8 Turbo has a lot of get up and go plus the torque is an added bonus. Since I have only had the car for a short time I am extremely pleased with performance and cabin space. I plan to keep this car for a long time. The Toyota Corolla purchase was not a good choice for many reasons. The biggest negative was the CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) Very noisy. I like how well the interior switches light up at night. Very easy to see and use. Bluetooth activates quickly. I drive 46 miles round trip to work each day. At present I can't give an accurate fuel economy rating. I would highly recommend this car. Comfortable and a blast to drive."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Good, reliable, no-frills car

By on Monday, June 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Handling, gas mileage, reliabilitity, VW"

Cons: "Technology, lack of standard features,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I have had my Jetta for 1.5 years now. I still enjoy driving it and it is certainly reliable. I have not had one mechanical problem. It also survived just fine in the 2014-2015 Maine winter. My biggest complaints are in regards to the instrument panel and radio display. The panel is very bland to say the least and the display's response time (i.e. how long it takes the system to recognize I just changed the radio station) is slow. It acts like technology from 10 years ago. In an effort to stay within my budget I sacrificed Bluetooth, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, alloy wheels, and heated seats. Even still, for a car that cost about $22,000 I think this trim level should have Bluetooth, better technology, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Overall, if you are looking for an affordable compact car that provides a European and classy driving experience, this car could suit you well."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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